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December 15, 2021

Acquisition: Stephen G. Stein Gift of Edward Weston Photographs

Edward Weston, "Nautilus", 1927

Edward Weston
Nautilus, 1927, printed 1940s
gelatin silver print
Image/sheet: 23.9 x 19 cm (9 7/16 x 7 1/2 in.)
mount: 40.5 x 34.5 cm (15 15/16 x 13 9/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of Stephen G. Stein
2021.47.1

Edward Weston (1886–1958) is one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, celebrated for his carefully composed, sharply focused landscapes, nudes, and portraits, as well as his highly original close-up studies of vegetables and seashells. Stephen G. Stein has given the National Gallery of Art four exceptional photographs by Weston that significantly enhance the museum’s collection. Over the years, Stein has given numerous works to the National Gallery—most recently, a group of 161 photographs including some by the most admired artists in the history of photography. These works are distinguished by the quality, importance, and rarity of the prints and greatly expand the National Gallery’s photography collection.

Nautilus (1927), one of Weston’s most iconic works, is acclaimed for its dazzling luminosity and demonstrates his ability to transform a common object into a subject at once unrecognizable and strangely familiar. Cypress, Rock, Stone Crop (1930) and Dunes at Oceano (1936) are outstanding examples of the artist’s skill at distilling the complexity of nature into stunning visual spectacles that are both detailed and abstract. An example of his late work, White Sands, New Mexico (1941), reveals the interaction between the timeless elegance of the land and the rapidly changing clouds above.

Four of the 14 photographs by Weston in the National Gallery's collection were previously given by Stein.

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